Sure to be someone’s first choice of bedtime tale for a few nights.

READ REVIEW

BEDTIME MONSTERS

Since a monster lurks somewhere in the room of nearly every lively child at bedtime, another book about the experience is inevitable.

When Arnold tries to delay his bedtime, his mother offers him the universal parental commonplace about dealing with fears, in this case, the monster that bites off toes: “I’m sure he’s just as scared of you as you are of him.” Of course, as soon as the light is out, the terrible toe biter appears, followed by the horrible tooth gnasher, the winged fargle and the grozny buzzler. Each takes refuge from the next under Arnold’s covers. But it’s Arnold, known for his destruction of New York (seen in the opening pages as an imaginative, playful rampage with block towers) and his biting off of animal heads (his bedtime cookie snack), the monsters fear most. Arnold’s revelation of his identity sends the monsters back into the camouflage of his nighttime room, their outlines visible against the slightly open door of the closet, the radiator knob, the mobile above Arnold’s bed and the toy under the bed. Schneider’s cartoon style and plain, sturdy boy (with no pupils, like Little Orphan Annie) allow the only slightly scary monsters to stand out a bit—each quite different from the next.

Sure to be someone’s first choice of bedtime tale for a few nights. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-544-00270-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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Not exactly out of this world but a pleaser just the same.

THERE'S AN ALIEN IN YOUR BOOK

From the There’s a…in Your Book series

Earth friends are easy to make for this roly-poly, extraterrestrial cutie.

Fletcher pens the fourth in his interactive book series, this time invading his pages with a crash-landed ET. At first readers are encouraged to tell the space being to shove off, but pretty quickly it becomes clear that it’s just too adorable to send away like that. Mostly yellow, it looks like nothing more than a smiley face with antennae, its oversized head occupying more volume than its trunk, arms, legs, and tail combined. The undersides of its hands, feet, and tail are bright green. Repairing its damaged spaceship is out of the question, and attempts to launch it into space by having readers bounce, turn, and lift the book are fruitless. Does it belong here? Well, when readers stop to consider all the creatures that live on this planet (including a cameo by the author in the art), we can recognize that “we’re all weird and wonderful.” So the alien stays and even makes a friend with the star of There’s a Monster in Your Book (2017). The story makes mild overtures toward the idea of embracing our differences no matter our appearance, but that’s all superseded by the interactive elements. By now the series is treading familiar ground, but fans will find the combination of cute creatures and gentle moralizing a comfort.

Not exactly out of this world but a pleaser just the same. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12512-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day.

MY DAY WITH GONG GONG

Spending a day with Gong Gong doesn’t sound like very much fun to May.

Gong Gong doesn’t speak English, and May doesn’t know Chinese. How can they have a good day together? As they stroll through an urban Chinatown, May’s perpetually sanguine maternal grandfather chats with friends and visits shops. At each stop, Cantonese words fly back and forth, many clearly pointed at May, who understands none of it. It’s equally exasperating trying to communicate with Gong Gong in English, and by the time they join a card game in the park with Gong Gong’s friends, May is tired, hungry, and frustrated. But although it seems like Gong Gong hasn’t been attentive so far, when May’s day finally comes to a head, it is clear that he has. First-person text gives glimpses into May’s lively thoughts as they evolve through the day, and Gong Gong’s unchangingly jolly face reflects what could be mistaken for blithe obliviousness but is actually his way of showing love through sharing the people and places of his life. Through adorable illustrations that exude humor and warmth, this portrait of intergenerational affection is also a tribute to life in Chinatown neighborhoods: Street vendors, a busker playing a Chinese violin, a dim sum restaurant, and more all combine to add a distinctive texture. 

A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77321-429-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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It’s slight on story, but there is an abundance of shimmery glitter. And, of course, pink.

TWINKLE THINKS PINK!

Reminiscent of another rosy-hue–loving protagonist, Twinkle can’t get enough of the color pink.

Twinkle and her friends are invited to a garden party hosted by Fairy Godmother at the royal palace. It promises beautiful roses, which are the talk of the town. Twinkle, along with fairy friends Pippa and Lulu, can’t resist sneaking a peek before the party begins. The roses are all the colors of the rainbow. It looks divine, but Pippa can’t help but muse, “What a shame there aren’t more pink ones.” That’s all the encouragement Twinkle needs. She waves her wand, and (after a few missteps) suddenly everything in the garden is pink, right down to a winged rabbit onlooker and a shocked owl. Poor Twinkle still doesn’t have a handle on spell-casting. Have they ruined the garden party for everyone? The fuel for Holabird’s impetuous heroine’s fluttering is excitement rather than common sense. But she does confess to Fairy Godmother and admit her mistake. Warburton’s intricately inked illustrations provide enough fairy magic (tiny fruit houses with even tinier doors, a poodle with gossamer wings) to have readers poring over the details. The fairies present mostly white (other friends are shown on the endpapers), with only black-presenting Pippa providing diversity.

It’s slight on story, but there is an abundance of shimmery glitter. And, of course, pink. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2917-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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